Linksys put out a press release for the London market touting new VoIP hardware. One of these devices is the WRT54GP2 which is a 802.11G router with 2 phone ports and the other is the RT31P2 which is a plain router with 2 phone ports. Without question, this is the exact sort of announcement that the VoIP market needs. I say this because having VoIP and WiFi used to mean having 2 devices which means 2 layers of NAT and 2 administrative interfaces. Worse, trying to troubleshoot network problems with two routers makes it at least twice as difficult. Having a single device should alleviate much of these problems and also allow customers to easily open up the firewall to a specific device on the network. With CallVantage service this is not an easy task as the WiFi router is behind the telephony adapter.
An impressive array of features are available in these new products as well:
- Supports SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)
- Web based configuration through a built-in web server
- Supports DTMF tone detection and generation
- Supports multiple voice compression methods G.711, G.726 G.729 and
- Supports FSK Caller ID, DTMF Caller ID and FSK VMWI
- Supports echo cancellation and VAD (Voice Activity Detection)
- Password protected access and configuration
- Supports auto-provisioning with remote firmware upgrade
As the release points out the RT31P2 is available already through Vonage and the other products in the line will be available at retail locations. I have always wondered when VoIP would be considered mainstream and I am beginning to think that when a company like Linksys, such a huge player in the consumer networking market starts to include VoIP and SIP support in their products across the entire line of wireless and wired products, we have arrived as an industry. The mainstream press coverage is obviously another indicator as well.
The question becomes, "What's next?" Will Skype take over the telephony world? Is this the future? Is Skype the reason for the SBC AT&T merger as BusinessWeek suggests or will it just be a single player in a world where all service providers allow free p2p calls as Vonage's Jeff Citron suggests?